Nearly 1 in 4 students at this L.A. high school migrated from Central America
Gaspar Marcos stepped off the 720 bus into early-morning darkness in MacArthur Park after the end of an eight-hour shift of scrubbing dishes in a Westwood restaurant.
He walked toward his apartment, past laundromats fortified with iron bars and scrawled with graffiti, shuttered stores that sold knockoffs and a cook staffing a taco cart in eerie desolation. Around 3 a.m., he collapsed into a twin bed in a room he rents from a family.
Five hours later, he slid into his desk at Belmont High School, just before the bell rang. The 18-year-old sophomore rubbed his eyes and fixed his gaze on an algebra equation.
Minutes ticked by, and others straggled into the class, nine in all. Like Marcos, most had worked a full shift the night before — sewing clothes, cooking in restaurants, painting homes.
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